Why ‘No Time to Die’ Box Office Could Skyfall Despite Strong Reviews

Bond must continue to draw reluctant older audiences while competing with ”Venom“ and ”Halloween Kills“ for younger ones

While MGM’s “No Time to Die” has performed strongly at the box office overseas, Daniel Craig’s final James Bond film faces a big challenge in the United States this weekend amid an increasingly crowded marketplace and the ongoing unwillingness of older moviegoers to come to theaters.

This weekend, the Bond film will be going up against the third weekend of Sony’s “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” as well as two newcomers in Universal/Blumhouse’s “Halloween Kills” and 20th Century’s “The Last Duel.” “Halloween Kills” is expected to take No. 1 with a $35-40 million opening, while “No Time to Die” is currently projected for a $24-27 million second weekend, which would be a 52-58% second weekend drop.

Whether or not Bond meets or exceeds those projections will be based on two factors. First, the film has to continue to bring in older moviegoers that have been reluctant to show up during this pandemic rebuilding period.

“Spectre” and “Skyfall” were able to leg out thanks to the trend of older audiences waiting until later in each film’s theatrical run to buy tickets, and “No Time to Die” has had the largest opening weekend audience share of moviegoers over 45 of any major release this year. The question, however, is whether that turnout will continue after hardcore Gen X and Boomer Bond fans went during its first days on screen and MGM must rely on interest from more casual moviegoers.

And so far this year, we’ve seen several films fail to make that jump from the core audience to the mainstream regardless of the critical (or word-of-mouth) reception. Warner Bros.’ “In the Heights” and Universal’s “Dear Evan Hansen” have been the most prominent examples of that, seeing huge drop-offs after musical lovers saw each film on opening weekend. But this trend has even affected Warner/DC’s “The Suicide Squad,” which failed to gain the casual audience traction that comic book movies usually get.

“So far, it’s only been the biggest franchises, Marvel and ‘Fast & Furious,’ that have really been reliable moneymakers throughout their theatrical runs,” Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock told TheWrap. “The Bond fans and the critics really like ‘No Time to Die,’ but the box office is still rebuilding, and I just don’t think that this film is building the larger mainstream buzz that ‘Skyfall’ did.”

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Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • jeremy.fuster@thewrap.com • Twitter: @jeremyfuster